Environmental and Workplace Safety Compliance

William & Mary's Environmental, Health and Safety Office, within Facilities Management, provides services related to many workplace and research safety and environmental compliance obligations, including: 

  • fire safety
  • asbestos
  • hazardous waste
  • radiation and lasers
  • bloodborne pathogens.
What are specific compliance obligations relating to environmental and workplace health and safety?

The most well-known workplace safety law is OSHA -- the Occupational Safety and Health Act.  OSHA is a federal law enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is part of the Department of Labor. Under OSHA, William & Mary is required to provide employees with a place of employment "free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees."  

Key OSHA requirements include:

  • William & Mary must notify employees about hazards associated with materials they use on their jobs, including by maintaining chemical inventories and providing Material Safety Data Sheets upon request.  
  • W&M must provide employees with personal protective equipment to reduce exposures to hazards, when needed.  
  • W&M must limit its employees' exposure to lead and asbestos.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides information about OSHA.


The university also is subject to federal and state laws arising out of its activities relating to:

Hazardous materials:

  • Virginia Code Section 10.1-1426 et. seq. requires permits for storage and disposal and other activites relating to hazardous waste.  The law also requires notification of any release of a hazardous substance and imposes penalties on abandonment of a hazardous waste management facility.  
  • The Hazardous Materials Transportation Act of 1994 (49 U.S.C. 5108 and implementing regulations) imposes civil and criminal penalties on inappropriate transport of hazardous materials.  The law also requires registration, reporting and recordkeeping.  

Use of certain machinery and power tools:

  • Federal regulations apply to use of fork lifts, motorized hand trucks and aerial lifts, requiring employees using such machinery to have undergone training.  
  • Federal regulations found in 29 CFR 1910.251 apply to cutting and welding operations.  
  • Federal regulations found in 29 CFR 1910.241 set safety requirements for portable power tools and equipment used by employees, including requiring regular inspections, securing unattended tools, and requiring use of eye, head and face protection when warranted.  

Radioactive materials:

  • Federal regulation (10 CFR 20.1801 et seq.) requires that licensed radioactive materials be secured when in storage and put under constant surveillance if not in storage.  
  • NRC Order EA 05-090 requires that radioactive materials kept in "quantities of concern" be held subject to increased controls.